|Me reading "Holding Hands" as a VOTY at BlogHer12*|
But this year, damn it, I am determined to not go down my usual rabbit hole of over-rumination, of having to have everything thoroughly digested before I wax forth on the subject. In other words, I'm going to get a post up about BlogHer before the week is out!
Even though I haven't uploaded all my photos yet! Even though I don't know exactly what I want to say about it yet! Even though my brain hasn't settled down one iota yet! Squirrel! Shiny! Where was I? Oh, yeah...
So herein find... not a deep thinking piece of any sort, but rather, what pops out as I whirl through thoughts of the last few days, kind of like the wispy pink threads that are spit out of the core of a cotton candy machine, once it heats up and spins up to speed.
So I now offer up here a few spun sugar thought tendrils that I have caught on the white paper cone I am desperately trying to properly twirl through the bowl of my mind; picking up the feathery wisps and gathering together into something of mass.
(And have I mentioned I am abysmally bad at the actual cotton candy making in real life, having signed Ethan's 4th grade class up for this particular booth at his school's spring fair this year? I thought it would be easy - ha! It requires a certain sort of coordinated dexterity and speed that are currently beyond me. I kept making a mess of things. A sweet, sticky mess. I wish someone had taken a picture of me as I finished my turn at the booth covered in cotton candy bits; looking like I'd gone punk with pink and lavender strands strewn throughout my hair.)
But back to BlogHer (see, my mind, it wanders) here's some nibbles, full meal to come later...
It start and ends with the people, because that's why I'm really there: seeing my Twitter stream and Facebook feeds come to life, getting to engage in face to face conversations with people I already felt intimate with online was, once again, both extraordinary and joyful.
Thursday's Health Minder Day was especially important to me because I was doing the special needs parenting track, and these, THESE were my people. The ones I NEEDED to see, to embrace, to laugh with.
This year, other than Thursday, I went to less panels than any other year, and certainly less than I'd initially planned. Why?
I WAS READING FRIDAY AFTERNOON.
And that kind of took up a looooooooot of brainspace until it was over. And then I was a bit of a limp noodle for the rest of the conference, afterward.
I had snagged a fortuitous invite (thanks Holly) to a fabulous offsite event organized by Beth and hosted by Liz, where I ran into a host of friends I'd wanted to meet up with and got my picture taken with Kristin Davis:
|I'm sure Kristin Davis so wishes she had curly hair like the rest of us!|
I did it!
I took the stage and read my post "Holding Hands" as a "Voice of the Year" keynote speaker. I was number fourteen of fifteen readers, and as I listened to the others read before me, sharing their words with the most supportive and accepting audience possible, I actually grew calmer instead of more nervous, as I'd feared.
Standing at the podium I did indeed feel all those who had been there before, standing beside me in spirit. And not just this year's speakers but all five years of Voices, none more so than Susan Niebur, the amazing "Why Mommy" who passed away this past winter after a fierce battle with metastatic inflammatory breast cancer.
Hearing HER read on this selfsame stage two years ago at BlogHer 10 was the absolute highlight of that year, and to me this will always be Susan's stage.
It gave me strength as I read my post about my very elderly mother, who is currently in a much more frail, vulnerable and sad place than when I had written my essay the previous spring. I had been afraid I was going to break down and cry. But i got through it by staying in the moment, feeling the audience, so full of friends and well wishers, right there with me.
And then Shari, the last Voice of this Year, read a completely hysterical essay that had me, and everyone in the room, nearly peeing ourselves with laughter.
Heather and Ellie, being with you there, one of the heartlights of my weekend.)
Truly time for bed now, I'm getting sloppy, happy-lovey here, and I'm stone cold sober. In fact I had all of ONE drink at BlogHer, some ghastly (but effective) concoction at the Aiming Low party.
So... Everyone was beautiful, I loved you all (even those of you who stepped on my feet whilst dancing to the overloud shitty music) and if I didn't drop your name in this post tonight, that's just because I'm saving you up for my NEXT BlogHer '12 post-mortem post, wherein I will tell all.
Ok, not quite all.
Because what happens at BlogHer stays at BlogHer... well, except for the 4,000 posts being written about it. Oops! Bad place to misbehave (so glad I didn't).
*photo: Jean Stimey Winegardner
**photo: Holly Rosen Fink